A Commentary on The Ascent of Mount Carmel and The Dark Night of the Soul
“For the soul to attain to the state of perfection, ordinarily it must pass through two principal kinds of night, which are actually purgations, or purifications, of the soul. We will call them nights because the journey through these purgations and purifications is, as it were, by night in darkness. The first purgation is the dark night of the senses. The second purification is the dark night of the spirit. In both cases, it is the soul that undergoes the dark night but through its different parts, the sensual part and the spiritual.” —St. John of the Cross, “The Dark Night”
Fr. William Meninger guides the reader through two basic works of inner development, The Ascent of Mount Carmel and The Dark Night of the Soul, by St. John of the Cross (1542–1591) . He unfolds for modern readers the essence of these classical texts, section by section.
St. John of the Cross for Beginners is for anyone entering or considering the Christian path of inner work or wishing to go more deeply into one's path of development.
Fr. William Meninger, OCSO, entered St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts, in 1963. While there, he developed a contemplative prayer method based on the fourteenth-century classic The Cloud of Unknowing, leading to a prayer method called Centering Prayer. Fr. William moved from St. Joseph’s Abbey to St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado, in 1979, where he has served as prior and novice director. His books include The Loving Search for God: Contemplative Prayer and the Cloud of Unknowing and Bringing “The Imitation of Christ” into the Twenty-First Century. Most recently he contributed to Sundays at the Magic Monastery: Homilies from the Trappists of St. Benedict’s Monastery and to St. Benedict's Monastery.